not obsessed, really

frog teapot and blue jay figurine on aug 1 oil pastel

It’s not an obsession.  Really.  But I have needed more information for the famous froggie teapot and his side-kick the blue jay figurine so I was doing studies of these two — again — yesterday.  I made the little painting first  (10 x 8 inches) and later in the night I drew them in oil pastel.

I think I have what I need to work on the Big Painting now, but I won’t know for sure until I’ve started dealing with that element directly.  I’m painting the picture from the studies. All the creatures will have eyes in the Big Painting.  They don’t have eyes here because it’s too much trouble.  How’s that sound for a deeply artistic reason?

The oil pastel is 12 x 9 inches on tan colored Strathmore 500 series charcoal paper.

frog teapot and blue jay figurine painting (2)

earlier pond

pond with lilies in oil

I had painted the pond before.   Not sure when this was — long enough ago that I had forgotten it.  Turns out it’s the same size as the one I’m painting now: it also measures 20 x 24.  The only difference is that it’s an oil painting.

When the acrylic paintings are finished, I’m going back to this one to do some more work.

I had rehearsed this motif more than I knew.  And it’s pleasing to see how close together the two paintings are to each other in overall forms and textures.

Degas’s advice for housewives: dix fois at least

photo-bouquet-in-progress-on-easel-may-8 (4)Degas’s advice for painters works for tidying too.  Indeed, it will be instrumental to the success of the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 as my first exertions have quickly revealed.

If I want more of the above and less of the below, I am going to have to move various things around …

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… maybe ten times — but surely not one hundred times —  in order to have space to do the reorganization.  For one has to move this to get to that, but then THAT needs to return temporarily to its first place while I deal with a new THIS.

It’s complicated.

“Il faut refaire dix fois, cent fois le même sujet.”  You must redo — ten times, one hundred times — the same subject.

Listen, Degas.  (écoute, Degas).  Ten times will be quite enough!



Larger flowers

Here is the same vase of flowers of my many nocturnal and diurnal repetitions, drawn larger this time, 18 x 24 inches, in pencil.  Each time I draw this motif I notice something different about it, and by the motif I refer to the entire scene.  I have spent so much attention on the flowers — because in a picture with a vase of flowers you almost have to — and yet I’m not sure if it isn’t really the cloth behind the vase, the patterns on the cloth and the two other objects, the creamer and the rice bowl that interest me more than the flowers.

Indeed, I think what interests me most when I look at the still life itself is some quality about the whole, particularly the way light crosses all the objects.  When you redraw something over and over, you are in a process of discovering what it is.  I am not really interested in these objects as much as I am intrigued by gravity weighing down the cloth and light moving through the space.  And I haven’t captured either of those qualities yet.  So though I’ve drawn it a lot, its substance has still eluded me.

“Il faut refaire la meme choses dix fois cents fois,” as Degas said: You must redraw the same thing ten times, a hundred times.  Or as a Spanish friend translates for me, “Necesitas re-dibujar la misma cosa diez veces, cien veces.”  Italian anyone?


The Koi are going modular.  The pond is broken into quadrants which can afterwards be rearranged.  (There could be a board game hidden in here somewhere …)

I have no idea why I am doing this except for the age-old of excuse, “Just Because.”  They can be rearranged all sorts of ways, see–

As soon as I make some more, I can expand the pond.  The koi need more room.


I have been making studies of some of the central fish in the picture that I’ve been thinking about lately.  I try to get at them again and again.  I want to learn my fish.  They are a fish concerto that I must practice.

Some of the studies, like these above, are medium size.  Others are small fry.

And sometimes they are just lines.

I’m a very studious student of the fish.  People will go to great lengths to catch fish, and I am no exception for the pictured fish are not less wily than their living counterparts.

Pixel With Colors

Pixel swims into so many of my pictures.  Here he is all colored with crayon.  He usually lives and swims in this painting.  “Il faut refaire la meme chose, dix fois, cents fois ….” Degas said.  I took it very much to heart.  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve drawn Pixel.  (“You must redraw the same thing, ten times, a hundred times….”)

[Top of the post:  Pixel with Colors, by Aletha Kuschan, pencil and crayon]